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2003 article about "Searching For Jerry Garcia"

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  • 2003 article about "Searching For Jerry Garcia"

    Source

    Proof wants to show his power
    By Wendy Case / The Detroit News

    Rapid-fire rapper adds to hip hop's landscape with upcoming solo CD


    D12's Proof spends most of his time at his CSumfriends studio in Southfield. Behind him is one of many painted murals that decorate the walls.

    Proof digresses. What started as a simple answer about the release date for the Detroit rapper's upcoming solo album, Searching 4 Jerry Garcia," has turned into a free-flowing verse that incorporates every increment of time measurement the MC can conjure. He breaks down March 11 into days, hours, minutes, fractions of seconds, etc. This happens all the time. Some of it rhymes, some of it doesn't. The delivery is so rapid fire that, if you don't have "Rain Man" level of comprehension, you're likely to get lost. "I can freestyle real quick," the wiry, 27-year-old Detroit native says later -- training his wide, almond-shaped eyes on a reporter for effect. "Imagine the way I must think. It's just me, I'm crazy."

    He's not crazy, just abstract -- in a charismatic, George Clinton kind of way. A member of platinum-selling Detroit rap group D12 and hypeman for best friend Eminem (also a D12 member), Proof, real name DeShaun Holton, earned his rep as a battle rapper in the clubs around the city. He was already well-known in Detroit as host at the legendary Hip-Hop Shop before being been thrust into the mainstream as a key player in Eminem's dramatic success story. The MC won Source magazine's "Unsigned Hype" award in 1999 and actor Mekhi Pfifer plays "Future," a character loosely based on Proof, in the film "8 Mile." In one of the film's opening sequences Proof appears as the character Lil' Tic who battles Eminem's character, Rabbit. D12 also performs on the movie's soundtrack.



    But the time has come for Proof to unleash his own hip-hop philosophy, free of the Eminem/D12 hype. The vehicle, his new double disc solo album, "Searching 4 Jerry Garcia" -- set for March release on his own Iron Fist label -- is a beat-heavy psychedelic manifesto which employs music icons such as Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Louis Armstrong and the Sex Pistols -- all of whom appear as song titles on the album -- metaphors for the rapper's experience. "It's a reflection of my life -- of the situations I relate to with these artists," he says. The rapper recently told BET.com that he chose Garcia as the title for his album because he respected the former Grateful Dead guitarist's ability to transcend musical boundaries. "He was a true artist," Proof told the online magazine. "A lot of these rappers aren't true artists. He crossed all the lines." . As Proof explains, songs such as "Kurt Cobain" are intended to encapsulate specific ideas. That particular track represents the rapper's frustration at having to play the hype game to sell his record. It's a frustration that Cobain, who fronted the influential Seattle rock band Nirvana, shared before taking his life in 1994. "You could see in his final interviews... he went off," Proof says. "I'm tired of (false) imagery and gimmicks. I wanna stand up sometimes when Em or D12 is doing an interview and say 'I'm tired of the script.' "

    AMC, the company that will distribute "Searching 4 Jerry Garcia" along with its accompanying EP "Electric Coolaid Acid Testing," believes that Proof's esoteric style has the potential to cross over to the pop market. "It's a very unusual project," says Janie Jennings, general manager at AMC's New York offices. "It's autobiographical and it touches on politics, business, family, religion, the streets. It's a very real interpretation of who he is." After several years in the trenches of the industry, Proof seems to have found his footing. His Southfield studio, called CSumfriends, is where he gets away. A combination clubhouse and work space, the subterranean recording facility is decorated with artful graffiti murals and odd pieces of recording equipment. Video game cases litter the lounge floor in front of a big screen TV and figurines of cartoon superstar SpongeBob Squarepants (Proof's a fan) are everywhere. But the most telling object is a large, blue rolling suitcase that resides in a small storage space off the studio lounge. The overstuffed case sits upright amid a sea of wadded-up clothes -- like its owner only had time to remove its contents and pack it again quickly before heading back out the door. It's an easy metaphor for Proof's busy life. A life that doesn't leave much time for old friends. "We see each other when we're doing shows," Proof says when asked about his relationship with Eminem, "but I think of him a lot. We're grown men -- we've got families to raise (Em has a daughter, Proof -- recently divorced -- has four children), But now we're out here grindin', trying to make it in the music business. When we get to be 35, 40 -- that's when I think we'll be seeing more of each other."

    Proof's young engineer, Jared Gosselin -- aka Cyzer Sozet -- probably spends the most time with Proof these days. Gosselin logs long hours at CSumfriends tweaking tracks and coming up with beats and sound effects. The two are like Frick and Frack -- constantly amusing each other with inside jokes and demented one-liners. But when it comes to the music, both snap to attention -- reviewing the elaborate foam-board charts that Proof has designed to deconstruct the album and blasting tracks through the mixing booth's monitors: "It's all like family, and this is like home," says Gosselin, 21, who met Proof a few years ago when he was working at a Rochester Hills studio. "We just had a really good vibe. We're always learning -- always learning about ourselves." Part of this learning experience appears to involve challenging the traditional methods of conveying thoughts and ideas. "Everything is really weird and we're like, really weird people -- but we're not 'cause we want world harmony," Proof spouts off to no one in particular. This is part of his trip -- spontaneous, stream of consciousness, nonsense verse... or is it?

    As much as he tries to throw you, there is something genuine about the MC's high-strung, animated presence. And the fact that he still hosts the Friday night freestyle rap battles weekly at St. Andrew's Hall -- awarding the winner $100 out of his pocket -- demonstrates that DeShaun Holton is still devoted to the scene that has nurtured his success. "To the underground artists, it means a lot," says Gary Russell, aka Slautah from local hip-hop crew the Almighty Dreadnaughtz. "That's the kind of guy he is. He's true, he's real." Fellow D12 member, Bizarre respects Proof's efforts as well. "He has a big heart and I think he wants to see Detroit do well," says Bizarre, real name Rufus Johnson. "Proof is out (on the scene) more than any other member. I think that keeps him well rounded."

    Proof's mission these days is to get "Searching 4 Jerry Garcia" into the hands of hip-hop fans, record new material for the next D12 album (the crew has one track in the can and another on Proof's solo album) and to save hip hop from floundering in a sea of mediocrity. Like many, he's tired of big money labels pumping out cookie-cutter rap stars. "If you can't add on to hip hop, you're a waste of space," he says. "Why do what everybody else does? It's so monotonous, so redundant." Part and parcel of this musical experiment is Proof's desire to discover himself. "If you don't know who you are, you're just walking around in circles," he adds. "I'm in search of balance."
    Last edited by yacine; 08-18-2005, 01:59 PM.

  • #2
    Questions:
    - What happened to this AMC distribution deal ?
    - What happened to his collaboration with Cyzer Sozet ?

    Thanks for clearing that.

    Comment


    • #3
      lol i was goin through old emails and i found a proof street team email from jason sayin be on the look out for searchin for jerry garcia comin jan 2003. i laughed
      i have a belly full of white dog poop and you lay this shit on me?

      Comment


      • #4
        lol long time comin but it was worth the wait
        R.I.P. Proof
        1973-2006

        Comment

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